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Longoria given hero's burial
February 16, 1949

On this day in 1949, the body of Private Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, Texas, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Longoria had died in the Philippines near the end of World War II. When his recovered remains were sent to Three Rivers for burial, the funeral director refused the use of his chapel for a "Mexican." After action by the American G.I. Forum and Lyndon Johnson, Longoria was buried in Arlington. The affair provided a model case in the Mexican-American struggle for civil rights.

Lone survivor of Bonilla expedition found
February 16, 1599

On this day in 1599, Jusepe Guitiérrez, the lone survivor of the Bonilla expedition, was found by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate. Francisco Leyva de Bonilla, a Portuguese captain in the service of Spain, was dispatched in 1594 by Governor Diego de Velasco of Nueva Vizcaya to pursue beyond the frontiers of that state a rebellious band of Indians that had committed acts of theft. Once across the border, Bonilla and his party determined to explore New Mexico and the plains beyond and to search for the fabled treasure of Quivira. They spent about a year at the upper Rio Grande pueblos, making Bove (San Ildefonso) their principal headquarters. They then explored into Arkansas and Nebraska. According to the statement of Gutiérrez, a Mexican Indian who was with the party, Bonilla was stabbed to death after a quarrel with his lieutenant, Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña, who then assumed command. Sometime after the murder, Jusepe and five other Indians deserted the party and retraced their steps toward New Mexico. On the way, four were lost and a fifth was killed. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter. When Oñate arrived at Quivira in the summer of 1601, he learned that hostile Indians had attacked and wiped out Humaña and nearly all his followers on their return journey, by setting fire to the grass at a place on the High Plains subsequently called La Matanza.

First archbishop of San Antonio consecrated
February 16, 1927

On this day in 1927, Arthur Jerome Drossaerts was consecrated as the first archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio in San Fernando de Béxar Cathedral. Drossaerts was born in Breda, Holland, in 1862. He was ordained in 1889 and travelled to Louisiana the same year. He subsequently served as pastor at New Orleans, Broussard, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1918, Drossaerts was consecrated bishop of San Antonio. As bishop, Drossaerts built more than sixty churches and fifty schools, the most significant of which was St. John's Seminary. When the Diocese of San Antonio was made an archdiocese, Drossaerts became its first archbishop. He continued to build churches and schools and fill speaking engagements. He kept the old Spanish missions alive and went without salary in order to assist poor parishes with expenses. During his tenure as archbishop, he dedicated about 134 churches and religious buildings. In 1934, Pope Pius XI honored Drossaerts for his aid to those fleeing from religious persecution in Mexico. For his charitable works he was named assistant at the pontifical throne and papal count. Drossaerts died in 1940.